Kickoff of the implementation of the 17 UN SDGs is only a fortnight away, and as it looks, the UN could be up against more than it really estimated.
According to a new report, a significant number of developing and least developed nations across Asia and Africa lack sufficient data to be used by development professionals and policymakers in making estimates.
Lack of Data And Why Sufficient Data is Needed
Data helps experts weigh the feasibility of goals, provides clarity on the nature of the problem and facilitates statistic-based supervision and evaluation of development progress. It’s paramount in intermediate outcome tracking and determination of whether the trajectory predicts that the country or the UN will achieve or miss an SDG and its targets.
Most developing countries lack data even in priority areas, and that has come as one of the most pressing challenges the 2030 Agenda is likely to face. As the report suggests, little under 30 of the world’s poorest countries have no data to measure poverty trends in the period between 2002 and 2011. Over the same period, 28 more countries have only one data point on poverty trends in their books, which all but highlights the bugs bound to mar implementation of the hyped agenda.
Data Collection Methods… That Developing Countries Fail to Use
One fundamental data collection method is through conducting household surveys which will provide important data for evaluation and analysis of individual wellbeing in terms of health and education statuses and consumption levels. Another reliable method is the use of administrative records which can provide statistics on demographic changes and trends, for instance, to aid in the formulation of health, education and social protection policies.
Unfortunately, very few countries conduct the aforementioned surveys and most of them have poor and unreliable registration systems, which may force analysts to rely solely on non-statistical estimates. To add to the conundrum, one SDG target requires that legal identity, including birth registration, be provided for all by 2030.
Over the 15 years of the Millennium Agenda, the UN has provided more than 80 developing countries with financial and technical support to improve production and provision of official statistics. This has led to a significant improvement in the registry departments of World Bank borrowing countries, and now 93 percent of the world’s population is represented in a national population census.
That said, experts believe the depth of the available data is still lacking and that countries have to be more comprehensive with what they provide to the UN registry bodies if SDGs are to be operatively met.